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Trailblazing Through the Golden Years

Minnesotans age 50-plus are making valuable contributions in communities across the state. (aletia2011/Adobe Stock)
Minnesotans age 50-plus are making valuable contributions in communities across the state. (aletia2011/Adobe Stock)
May 6, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Trailblazing is not just for the "up and coming," and some Minnesotans are being honored for not letting their golden years slow them down. The "50 over 50" list recognizes those over the age of 50 who are leading and inspiring others through their actions and are making an impact on their community.

State director of AARP Minnesota Will Phillips said they are looking for folks who have made significant contributions and achievements in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, in the arts and community, and in disrupting obstacles to change.

"We've got a tremendous resource, a tremendous group of people who are contributing in outsize ways all across our state,” Phillips said. “And unless we are deliberate about lifting them up, nominating them for this award and telling their story, then we're not going to know about them."

The nonprofit Pollen Midwest and AARP Minnesota started the annual list in 2016, and since then, more than 600 people have been nominated. May 13 is the deadline for 2019 nominations, and the list will be announced in August.

Phillips said some people dread growing older, but this recognition shows there are opportunities that come with age, and underscores the value of older Minnesotans through their actions.

"It's a way to demonstrate the impact that some of these folks have had on multiple generations; whether it's through mentorship, or leading younger generations and setting that example,” he said. “So it's really an intergenerational affair as well that has been well received across the ages."

He added it's also about those who see a problem as a challenge or an opportunity, and don't wait around for someone else to take action and make a difference. The award is not posthumous, and nominees must be at least 50 years of age, live in Minnesota and nominated by someone other than themselves.

Disclosure: AARP Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MN